Science Fiction & Fantasy

Missing Signal

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June 2018 (Issue 97)

This month’s cover art is by Reiko Murakami, illustrating an original science fiction story by A. Merc Rustad and Ada Hoffman (“I Sing Against the Silent Sun”). We also have an original SF piece by Lina Rather (“A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Lighthouse of Quvenle the Seer”), along with SF reprints by Russell Nichols (“Tie Goes to the Runner”) and James Cambias (“Contractual Obligation”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Ashok K. Banker (“The Quiltbag”) and Emma Törzs (“From the Root”), and fantasy reprints by Micah Dean Hicks (“The Carpenter and the Beast of Teeth”) and Courtney Bird (“The Diamond Girl”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint of the fantasy novella “There’s a Hole in October” by Todd McAulty. We also have excerpts from Meet Me in the Strange, a new novel by Leander Watts, and the novel The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty.

In This Issue: June 2018 (Issue 97)

Editorial

Editorial: June 2018

Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s content and for all our exciting news.

Science Fiction

I Sing Against the Silent Sun

In the Principality there rule the Seven Suns. Armored gods, they marched through the universe eons ago, wreathed in subjected angels, and left footprints of conquest on galaxies. They dragged beneath them the corpse-heat from a billion burning worlds. The sixth Sun, the Gray Sun, is a god of silence. There is no voice, no mercy, no music within the Gray Sun.
Beneath the Gray Sun there is only emptiness.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Carpenter and the Beast of Teeth

The carpenter was alone and living out of his truck. He had been out of work for a long time when he found an envelope in his post office box. The envelope was black and coarse as hair. Instead of a seam, it had a mouth. When the carpenter picked it up, the mouth bared iron teeth and told him that he was hired. It would be his job to go to old houses the bank owned, fix them up, and kill their monsters.

Science Fiction

Tie Goes to the Runner

The alien came to play ball. Or so I thought. It didn’t say so outright. Not exactly. Couldn’t speak English far as we could tell. But every day that summer, it would meet us there at the sandlot. The thing would come and stand behind the dugout, which was a rusty old hope chest Willie stole from his big sister. It would stand out there, the alien, not moving or nothing. Just observing, if that’s even the right word.

Fantasy

The Quiltbag

Octavia was at the last gate when the alarm sounded. A small army of bristling weapons encircled her. The bag shuddered in her grip, panic rippling through its weave. She gripped it tighter, reassuring it. It’s your hair, it sent tremulously. Told you to straighten it and bind it tight; they don’t like big black hair. She squeezed it tight against her side: Hush, hush. “Step aside, ma’am,” said a man in a grey uniform.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: June 2018

This month, Arley Sorg reviews The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman, and Ruth Joffre’s debut collection Night Beast.

Science Fiction

A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Lighthouse of Quvenle the Seer

Your guidebook says: Do not ask which ships the lighthouse guides. It’s the same old joke everyone makes when they come, and the sisters who care for their prophetess Quvenle will not laugh. The other pilgrims will not laugh. You will not feel any less uncomfortable, and you’ll feel silly for selling your house and all the memories left inside to buy your passage. To reach the edge of known space, you have shed it all.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Diamond Girl

In your version of the story, the girl is a junkie. She is seventeen, standing on the side of the road with a garbage bag at her feet, and in the bag, she has a teddy bear and a box of Girl Scout cookies she stole from her niece. Her arm is outstretched, palm facing the sky. She’s hitchhiking but not with her thumb. It looks like she’s asking the sky for rain. When a car pulls alongside her, it’s the mother’s boyfriend and he says, Hey, sugar. She begins to run.

Nonfiction

Media Review: June 2018

This month, Violet Allen reviews Netflix’s technothriller series Altered Carbon.

Science Fiction

Contractual Obligation

Blue Six and the rest of the grunts power up to battle-ready at T-minus fourteen hours. They don’t need much lead time before action; even if the squad’s fully shut down, it takes them less than ten minutes to get operational. No, the extra time isn’t for the grunts, it’s for the officer. Captain Yamada’s in the fridge. He’s been in there since the space freighter left the last neutral station at L5, a hundred days ago.

Contractual Obligation

Fantasy

From the Root

When I was sixteen, I sold my teeth each Thursday, and that is how I first met the doctor. This was before his celebrated school, his fame, his dogged pursuit of bodies for his collection, back when he was very young and took his income as a dentist. While the ladies of society ate cakes until their smiles were the same gappy gray cobblestone as our London streets, my own hungry mouth was full of pearls, and I let the doctor harvest them.

From the Root

Author Spotlight

Emma Törzs

Nonfiction

Interview: Lara Elena Donnelly

Lara Elena Donnelly is a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, as well as the Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers, where she now volunteers as on-site staff and publicity coordinator. In her meager spare time she cooks, draws, sings, and swing dances. After an idyllic, small-town Ohio childhood, she spent time in Louisville, Kentucky. She currently resides in Harlem, in a tower named after Ella Fitzgerald.

Lara Elena Donnelly